Every day is agony, say missing Alice's parents
Battling to keep their emotions in check, the anguished parents of missing schoolgirl Alice Gross have told how every day of their daughter's disappearance brings "new agony".
As one of the biggest searches ever mounted in the UK continues for the 14-year-old, Rosalind Hodgkiss and Jose Gross made an impassioned appeal for help in finding the schoolgirl.
Ms Hodgkiss, who is a teacher, said: "This has obviously been a very distressing time for the whole family and every morning as Alice's disappearance grows longer and longer brings new agony, new anguish.
"We're coping as best we can and we're trying to keep hopeful. We've had a lot of support from the community, our family and friends, the Facebook page and the police, and we're making an appeal today to Alice, if she can hear us, that we want her to come home, that we miss her and love her."
The couple spoke from the family home in Hanwell, west London, as police staged a reconstruction of the route that Alice was last seen walking, four weeks on from her disappearance.
She was captured on CCTV at 4.26pm on August 28, walking along a towpath alongside the Grand Union Canal in west London, going under a bridge where Trumpers Way crosses the canal.
Her mother said: "We're missing everything about her. We miss her smile, her presence, her quirkiness, every single thing about her we miss, and we want her back home where she belongs."
Convicted murderer Arnis Zalkalns is the prime suspect in Alice's disappearance, and Scotland Yard has come under fire for apparent delays in identifying him as a risk.
Commander Graham McNulty also admitted yesterday that British detectives would have no power to arrest him if he has fled abroad, because they have not applied for a European arrest warrant due to a lack of evidence.
But Alice's parents insisted they have complete faith in the police investigation, and said they want the focus to remain on finding their daughter.
Ms Hodgkiss said: "We accept that this is just one line of inquiry. Alice is still a missing person and we want the focus today to be on Alice. We have every confidence in the police and the way that they have been handling the investigation.
"We've been kept informed at every stage of the inquiry of all the different ways in which police have been looking for Alice, and we have full confidence in the way that they have been undertaking the investigation."